COVID vaccine rollout for kids under 5 presenting challenges in Virginia

Complications with the vaccine rollout for kids under 5 led a Virginia county to halt appointments for the day.

Fairfax County Health tweeted midday on Wednesday, that they were no longer accepting appointments at the main Government Center. 

The tweet also warned of longer wait times for walk-ins.

"It isn’t because of inventory. We have plenty of vaccines. It’s just a matter of being able to get nursing time for shots in arms as they say," said Colin Brody, Assistant Public Health Emergency Manager.

Brody told FOX 5 that Fairfax Health is very excited to see the high demand. It's one of the first locations in the region to start disseminating vaccines to those 5 and younger.

Pfizer is approved for children 6 months and up. Moderna is approved for children 6 months to 5 years old only.

COVID-19 vaccinations for children under 5 now available in DC, Maryland and Virginia

FOX 5 heard from staffers at the main Government Center that part of what delayed appointments Wednesday has to do with pediatricians not disseminating baby and toddler vaccines on time. 

FOX 5 was told some of the same issues were seen in Maryland.

Health officials on both sides of the Potomac are advising parents to check with their child’s doctor and/or pharmacy beforehand.

Brody told FOX 5 Fairfax County received around 13,000 vaccines in their first allotment. Fairfax orders more vaccines upfront since it serves as a state distribution site. 

If doctor’s offices are in need of more supply, they can turn to Fairfax County Health.

Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services only received around 2,000 vaccines in their first allotment. They expect to finish that first supply by this weekend, with more shipments expected the following week.

A Maryland Health spokesperson confirmed the state is getting around 65,400 vaccines. Pediatricians are being prioritized with initial deliveries. 

Maryland health officials are also advising parents to go to pediatrician offices and pharmacies first for the vaccine. 

Some parents with young kids in the family say they have been waiting for this moment. 

"I think that vaccination is one of the modern miracles living in modern society, they absolutely should consider it," said John Howe.

Jeremy Houck told FOX 5 he still has not gotten the vaccine and expressed concerns of previous reports connecting myocarditis to the Moderna vaccine.

"I would imagine it’s the same," said Houck, who also admitted he does not have children. "If it’s not good for somebody 20-30, why would you force it to someone under 5?" 

COVID-19 vaccine: CDC approves 1st shots for US kids under 5

On Wednesday, Timothy Lim and his wife brought their two children – a 12-month-old and a 4-year-old – to the Dennis Avenue Health Center in Montgomery County, MD to get vaccinated.

"We’re so glad it happened," Lim said. "We wish it happened sooner, but there’s just a level of comfort now that we didn’t have."

Montgomery County expects to have appointments for youth vaccinations open around 3 p.m. each day.

Brody expects the CDC to update Virginia’s appointment platform on Wednesday night. 

He told FOX 5 that Fairfax Health vaccinated 338 children at two vaccination sites — Government Center and South County Government Center —  on Tuesday. Despite delays, the county also vaccinated 323 children on Wednesday, while also providing primary and booster vaccines for adults.